What is a drug arrest?

MEXICO. As talks began on Monday between President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, analysts on both sides of the border had one question: What is behind the arrest of some of Mexico’s biggest drug traffickers?

The López Obrador administration has “dealt impressive blows” against Mexico’s top three criminal organizations, said Arturo Fontes, a security consultant and former FBI chief investigator. It’s probably not a coincidence, he said, that the takedowns occurred weeks before the two-day North American Leadership Summit.

President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador arrive for an arrival ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico on Monday, January 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnick / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

After a brief visit to El Paso, Biden arrived in Mexico City on Sunday, where he held bilateral talks on Monday with Lopez Obrador, also known as AMLO. They retired for dinner with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who arrived in the afternoon.

Even with progress on migration, there will be many more topics to discuss: climate change, manufacturing, trade, the economy, and the potential global impact of a more cooperative North America.

Biden visits El Paso on the Texas-Mexico border, a region rocked by an influx of migrants

The obstacles remain.

These include figuring out how to staff and secure the 28 Texas-Mexico border crossings and beyond to keep trade flowing. And addressing Mexico’s security issues affecting both sides.

Along the 2,000-mile border, Mexican cities are usually dominated by organized crime, whose power extends deep into Mexico.

Approximately 140,000 people were killed, mostly as a result of organized crime, during the presidency of López Obrador, whose government surpassed the number of murders under his predecessors Enrique Peña Nieto and Felipe Calderone, according to Mexico’s National Public Security System.

Significant changes have taken place in Mexico’s security system in recent weeks, according to Fontes and other current and former US intelligence and law enforcement officials.

Fontes said he saw “an encouraging sign, not a paradigm shift… [It’s] there is more balance. And that’s a good thing, especially for the US government,” as it puts pressure on Mexico to do more to contain the rampant violence that threatens entire regions.

President Joe Biden is greeted by Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador as he...
President Joe Biden is greeted by Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador as he arrives at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico on Monday, January 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnick / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The US also wants to stem the flow of the deadly fentanyl, which the Drug Enforcement Agency says killed more than 100,000 Americans in 2022.

Fontes said the cartel-related violence is also scaring off domestic and foreign investors at a time when North America is trying to poach companies from China to Mexico, especially at the border.

The main instigators of violence

In recent weeks, shortly before Biden arrived here in Mexico City, the López Obrador administration took into custody three of the main perpetrators of violence and drug trafficking in Mexico. This contrasts sharply with the president’s “hugs, not bullets” strategy, which he devised early in his term.

On December 21, Antonio Oseguera Cervantes, brother of New Generation Jalisco cartel boss Nemesio Oseguera, known as “El Mencho”, was arrested. This was followed by the assassination of Ovidio Guzmán, one of the sons of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, leading to days of clashes in the northern state of Sinaloa that left 30 dead and dozens injured.

Weekend in Nuevo Leon Jose Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandezknown as “El Gato” and longtime cartel leader Beltrán Leyva, was arrested.

A man has been arrested in Mexico in connection with the Southlake murder.

El Gato is the alleged mastermind behind the murder of Jesus Guerrero-Chapa, a drug cartel lawyer based in Southlake. Guerrero-Chapa was shot and killed after shopping with his wife in Southlake Town Square in May 2013. He was the personal lawyer for Osiel Cárdenas, the former head of the violent Mexican Gulf Cartel and a key US government informant.

“It is no coincidence that Biden visits the border and then Mexico City at a time when there is more pressure on Mexico, Canada and the United States to move away from China through close shoring” or supply chain partnerships with suppliers and manufacturers. the networks are located in nearby countries, said Fontes, who is currently president of Fontes International Consulting, which advises international companies on security issues.

Fontes said the move by Mexico was “associated with goodwill gestures” as well as external pressure on the Mexican government “to clean up its house.” This represents a “significant shift in attitude towards the United States, from ‘you are not welcome here’ to closer cooperation,” he said.

According to López Obrador and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, the summit is expected to focus on security and the global supply chain. The burning issues are all too often overlooked by migration issues and US domestic politics.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau welcome...
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau are greeted by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his wife Beatriz Gutiérrez Muller as they arrive at Felipe Angeles International Airport in Sumpango, Mexico on Monday, January 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)(Eduardo Verdugo / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Because of the dire migration issue, there is very little a Biden administration can do to put pressure on Mexico, at least publicly, said Carlos Bravo Rejidor, one of Mexico’s top political commentators. Mexico represents the latest barrier between a record high number of migrants desperate to reach the United States.

To maintain Mexico’s unwavering cooperation in keeping migrants away from U.S. soil, the Biden administration has treated its second-largest trading partner with caution, avoiding any major clashes with the populist leader, especially over human rights abuses and what critics call the destruction of democracy and According to civic groups such as Sociedad Civil Mexico and México Evalúa, there is a growing security threat in Mexico.

The “toxic problem” of migration

“Migration has become such a toxic issue in American electoral politics that Biden is willing to give up a lot of things as long as the AMLO government helps him keep migration more or less under control,” Bravo Regidor said.

From chaos to opportunity: could Biden’s visit to Mexico and his border visit change the narrative?

On the eve of the summit, Biden announced a change in migration policy with the blessing of Mexico. This is Biden’s biggest move to curb illegal border crossings, which will deter tens of thousands of migrants arriving at the border. At the same time, 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela will be able to legally come to the US if they travel by plane, get a sponsor and pass background checks.

The US will also turn away migrants who do not first seek asylum in the country through which they traveled en route to the US.

Key – Mexico

The key to this plan is Mexico and its cooperation as an observer of international migration. Biden administration officials said Mexico had agreed to take in up to 30,000 migrants a month.

“Unfortunately, many of the economic benefits associated with border trade are overlooked by professional politicians and political action groups who use inflammatory speech to demonize the border,” said Tom Fullerton, an economist at the University of Texas at El Paso.

But it’s also important to get the violence under control. “Violence is a big factor,” said Jerry Pacheco, president of the Frontier Industrial Association in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, a tiny but vibrant frontier community that borders El Paso.

Violence could prevent Mexico from absorbing more US trade from Asia as global supply chain falters

New Mexico’s appeal has grown as congestion worsens in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez amid increased use of the near abroad.

As manufacturers leave Asia and move products closer to the end market, the US-Mexico border area is a beacon of sorts. “It is impossible to say how much more foreign investment [Mexico] can be attractive,” Pacheco said. “if only there was much less press about drugs, cartels and human smuggling.”

President Joe Biden (third from right) listens during a bilateral meeting with...
President Joe Biden (third from right) listens during a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, Monday, January 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)(Andrew Harnick / ASSOCIATED PRESS)

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